‘I’m concerned the President has jeopardized our national security by putting clearances in the hands of unscrupulous people…’
(Kate Feldman, New York Daily News) Former White House chief of staff John Kelly once reportedly claimed that he had been “ordered” by President Donald Trump to give Jared Kushner top-secret security clearance.
Trump officially commanded his chief of staff to make it happen in May, a day after the White House Counsel’s Office encouraged him not to, The New York Times reported Thursday. The report cited four people “familiar with the situation” who were not identified, nor were their roles in the administration even slightly explained.
The Times also buried uncertainty about its sources at the bottom of its story.
“Two of the people familiar with Mr. Trump’s discussions with Mr. Kelly said that there might be different interpretations of what the president said,” the newspaper reported. “But Mr. Kelly believed it was an order, according to two people familiar with his thinking.”
Both Kelly and then-White House counsel Donald McGahn reportedly penned internal memos about the presidential order, according to the Times.
Trump, as well as his daughter Ivanka — Kushner’s wife — have both claimed that the president had no involvement in Kushner’s security clearance.
Last month, he told the Times that he was “never involved with the security” and he did not “want to get involved in that stuff.”
The first daughter echoed the same in an interview with “View” host Abby Huntsman when she said that her dad “had no involvement” in getting security clearance for her or her husband.
NBC News previously reported that Kushner’s application had been rejected by two White House security specialists, but they were overruled.
Shortly after the Times’ report Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., the chairman of the Intelligence Modernization and Readiness Subcommittee, assumed it wasn’t fake news and expressed disappointment in Trump’s reported interference.
“I’m concerned the President has jeopardized our national security by putting clearances in the hands of unscrupulous people, and against the recommendations of background investigators,” Swalwell wrote in a statement. “To ensure our deepest secrets are protected, we will (need) to ensure clearances are granted based on trust, not by blood or bond.”
A spokesman for Kushner’s attorney told the Times that they were told at the time that his security clearance “was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone.”
©2019 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.